‘Wanted a new adventure’: Aird looking for fresh start at Valour FC
Valour FC

Seeking a new challenge and adventure, Fraser Aird has settled on the maroon, black and gold of Valour FC and the burgeoning Canadian Premier League.

And while the Canadian/Scottish international isn’t really quite sure what might unfold with his fresh start here in Winnipeg – he has played for and trusts Valour FC boss Rob Gale – he is aware the Manitoba capital is over 3,000 miles from his current location in Glasgow, Scotland.

And, yes, he has been warmed about packing a warm coat, as he hopes to be in his new locale by the middle of next month.

“I’ve been looking at the temperatures and I wasn’t too impressed, to be honest,” said Aird with a chuckle in a chat with “But I saw it was -18 last week and this week it seems a bit better, does it not? Hopefully it picks up once the season starts in May. But coming from Scotland, we don’t have a lot of sunny days. So, come the summer it will probably be a lot warmer than I’m used to.”

RELATED READING: Valour FC signs Canadian international winger Fraser Aird || ‘Enjoy his football’: Gale hoping to revitalize Aird with Valour reunion

The 24-year-old winger comes to Valour after spending most of the last eight seasons – save for an 18-game stretch with the Vancouver Whitecaps – in Scotland with Rangers, Falkirk, Dunfermline Athletic, Dundee United, Queen of the South, and most recently, with Cove Rangers of Scottish League Two.

“I’m at the point in my career where I wanted a change,” Aird said. “I’ve been in Scotland since I was 16 (when he signed with Rangers) and I’m going to be 25 soon, so I’ve been here a while. I’ve played for the best club in Scotland, played throughout the divisions with numerous clubs and I just wanted a new adventure, a new challenge. I feel like there’s something interesting and promising happening in Canada with the new CPL.

“It’s exciting times for Canada football.”

Aird played for Canada’s U-15 squad and after moving to Scotland, represented that nation at the U-17 level. It was during Gale’s time as Canada’s U-20 head coach that the two really developed a relationship and the two have kept in contact since.

“He’s tried to sign me a few times and it just wasn’t the right time,” said Aird. “This time it is the right time and we ended up getting the deal done.

“Rob knows the player I am and the potential I have. He showed a lot of faith in me when I was younger. He knows how to get the best out of me and he knows what I can bring to the football club. Having a relationship with a manager is always good, especially when you’re packing up your bags and moving 3,000 miles across the water.”

Aird has other Valour/CPL connections, too, having played with Michael Petrasso as a youth, with Marco Bustos in Vancouver, with Dylan Carreiro on the national team while his brother Cameron played with Skylar Thomas.

Fraser Aird in action for the Canadian men's national team. (Photo: Canada Soccer)
Fraser Aird in action for the Canadian men’s national team. (Photo: Canada Soccer)

Describing himself as an attack-minded scoring midfielder who also set up goals, Aird hopes a return to Canada will also get him back on the national team radar. He has eight caps for Canada, scoring once – ironically, against Scotland in Edinburgh in 2017.

“I’m still young. I still have a big part of my career ahead of me,” said Aird. “I just wanted a new challenge and something different and this opportunity just ticks a lot of boxes for me for where I am right now in my career. It’s a chance to go and, not really prove myself, but get back to playing at a good level and get closer to the national team. I’ve been out of it for a while and I know the Canada coach seems to keep an eye on a lot of the games and goes to the games and he has a lot of contacts within the clubs.

“That’s the biggest and best achievement in football, for me, to play for your national team. I want to get back to that.”

Aird’s most recent stint with Cove Rangers – he signed there late last September – ended this month after an unfortunate incident in which he was caught making an obscene gesture during a Rangers-Celtic game.

He addressed that story openly and honestly when asked about it this week.

“Here’s my view: I’m a lifelong Rangers fan,” Aird began. “I played for the club for six years, a lot of my mates are still there. I’d say 98 percent of my mates in Scotland are Rangers fans. I go to the games whenever I can and if I have time off on a Sunday I go and watch any opportunity I get.

“Rangers playing away to Celtic… for me it’s the biggest rivalry in the world and probably one of the most-watched games in football. Rangers hadn’t won there since 2010… the emotions get to you. Rangers ended up winning and I got caught on camera giving a gesture, which I shouldn’t have been doing.

But, at the end of the day I didn’t say anything racist, I didn’t do anything serious. I think everything got blown out of proportion. I’m sure any Celtic fan would have been doing the same thing. I was just there supporting my team and celebrating the victory. Hopefully, that can be in the past now. I can’t wait to get started with Valour.”